The NASCAR Chase

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Alright boys and girls, the NASCAR Chase is here, so let’s get to it. Lots of reporters, analyst and blogging types like to tell you who’s going to win the Chase. Playing the odds on this, a fair number of them will get it right while others will be wrong. The ones who are wrong will never make mention of the fact that they were wrong and you won’t hear another word about it. The ones who got lucky and were right will gloat about their superior knowledge of NASCAR. I have just enough common sense not to tell the rest of world who is going to win the Chase. I feel that the average NASCAR fan’s opinion is just as good if not better than mine, so all of you certainly don’t need me telling you who is going to win. There are however a few factors that I consider when picking a favorite.

As in any major sport, it’s not necessarily the person or team with the best record that ends up winning the championship. One common factor to look at is who is getting hot at the right time. Racing in NASCAR is a funny thing. If anyone sees a driver that has stumbled recently, I’d be concerned. It’s not easy for a team to just turn it on and field a car that runs well. A team that runs well towards the end of the regular season will have confidence, and very few things are more important heading into a playoff situation.

The other prominent factor that I see is a team’s ability to consistently put a string of top 5 finishes together. In other words, if a driver doesn’t have a streak with at least 2-3 top 5 finishes in a row by now, they’ll be hard pressed to do it in the Chase. The last key to doing well in the Chase is avoiding the big wrecks and or mechanical issues that can take a car out of a race. Simply put, most Champions have had a little luck somewhere along the way. Going back to last year’s (2008) Chase, it only took a couple of bad races to bring Kyle Busch crashing back down to earth from his meteoric rise during the regular season. Talladega is going to be a big wildcard. If someone is at the wrong place at the wrong time they can be taken out of the race and their potential Championship season is over. All the Chase drivers will be very nervous if they’re running in the middle of the pack at Talladega. Remember, nobody knows for sure who’s going to win the Chase. This year could end up being one of the better endings to a NASCAR season in a long time, let’s hope so.

One more thought before we go. Lots of fans have voiced their opinions and let it be known that NASCAR has lost some of it’s excitement with the introduction of the Car of Tomorrow (COT) a couple of years ago. Many of these same fans have also made it clear that they are thrilled that Kyle Busch did not make the Chase this year. For the record, Kyle Busch makes it really easy not to like him. Smashing a custom made Les Paul guitar valued at a couple of thousand dollars does come to mind. That being said, the one thing Kyle Busch has never been accused of is being boring. Love him or hate him, Kyle Busch brings excitement to NASCAR and the Chase would be better with him in it.

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